Lakshmi is the goddess of all that is good wealth (dhana), beauty (saundarya) and happiness (sukha). As Vishnu s consort and in her incarnations as Sita and Rukmini, she represents the ideal of femininity in Hinduism. She is also Shri, the goddess of fertility and grain, and Mahalakshmi, the amalgam of the goddesses Kali, Lakshmi and Sarasvati. She is benevolent and generous, yet it takes surprisingly little to offend her. And when she leaves, her place is taken by Alakshmi, all that Lakshmi is not poverty, pestilence and ill fortune. How did this popular and accessible goddess come to represent these qualities? R. Mahalakshmi presents an evocative picture of the mythical and historical development of the goddess Lakshmi. Using a range of sources, from ancient texts to sculptures and everyday religious customs and prayers, this fascinating and deeply-insightful book sheds new light not only on the figure of Lakshmi, but also on the fundamental tenets of Hinduism as it is practised today
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